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Become An Accounting Officer

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Working As An Accounting Officer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • Getting Information
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $60,191

    Average Salary

What Does An Accounting Officer Do

Accountants and auditors prepare and examine financial records. They ensure that financial records are accurate and that taxes are paid properly and on time. Accountants and auditors assess financial operations and work to help ensure that organizations run efficiently. 

Duties

Accountants and auditors typically do the following:

  • Examine financial statements to ensure that they are accurate and comply with laws and regulations
  • Compute taxes owed, prepare tax returns, and ensure that taxes are paid properly and on time
  • Inspect account books and accounting systems for efficiency and use of accepted accounting procedures
  • Organize and maintain financial records
  • Assess financial operations and make best-practices recommendations to management
  • Suggest ways to reduce costs, enhance revenues, and improve profits

In addition to examining and preparing financial documentation, accountants and auditors must explain their findings. This includes preparing written reports and meeting face-to-face with organization managers and individual clients.

Many accountants and auditors specialize, depending on the particular organization that they work for. Some work for organizations that specialize in assurance services (improving the quality or context of information for decisionmakers) or risk management (determining the probability of a misstatement on financial documentation). Other organizations specialize in specific industries, such as healthcare.

Some workers with a background in accounting and auditing teach in colleges and universities. For more information, see the profile on postsecondary teachers.

The following are examples of types of accountants and auditors:

Public accountants perform a broad range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting tasks. Their clients include corporations, governments, and individuals.

Public accountants work with financial documents that clients are required by law to disclose. These include tax forms and balance sheet statements that corporations must provide potential investors. For example, some public accountants concentrate on tax matters, advising corporations about the tax advantages of certain business decisions or preparing individual income tax returns.

Public accountants, many of whom are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), generally have their own businesses or work for public accounting firms. Publicly traded companies are required to have CPAs sign documents they submit to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including annual and quarterly reports.

Some public accountants specialize in forensic accounting, investigating financial crimes such as securities fraud and embezzlement, bankruptcies and contract disputes, and other complex and possibly criminal financial transactions. Forensic accountants combine their knowledge of accounting and finance with law and investigative techniques to determine if an activity is illegal. Many forensic accountants work closely with law enforcement personnel and lawyers during investigations and often appear as expert witnesses during trials.

Management accountants, also called cost, managerial, industrial, corporate, or private accountants, record and analyze the financial information of the organizations for which they work. The information that management accountants prepare is intended for internal use by business managers, not by the general public.

Management accountants often work on budgeting and performance evaluation. They also may help organizations plan the cost of doing business. Some may work with financial managers on asset management, which involves planning and selecting financial investments such as stocks, bonds, and real estate.

Government accountants maintain and examine the records of government agencies and audit private businesses and individuals whose activities are subject to government regulations or taxation. Accountants employed by federal, state, and local governments ensure that revenues are received and spent in accordance with laws and regulations.

Internal auditors check for mismanagement of an organization’s funds. They identify ways to improve the processes for finding and eliminating waste and fraud. The practice of internal auditing is not regulated, but The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) provides generally accepted standards.

External auditors perform similar duties as internal auditors, but are employed by an outside organization, rather than the one they are auditing. They review clients’ financial statements and inform investors and authorities that the statements have been correctly prepared and reported.

Information technology auditors are internal auditors who review controls for their organization’s computer systems, to ensure that the financial data comes from a reliable source.

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How To Become An Accounting Officer

Most accountants and auditors need at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Certification within a specific field of accounting improves job prospects. For example, many accountants become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs).  

Education

Most accountant and auditor positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Some employers prefer to hire applicants who have a master’s degree, either in accounting or in business administration with a concentration in accounting.

A few universities and colleges offer specialized programs, such as a bachelor’s degree in internal auditing. In some cases, those with associate’s degrees, as well as bookkeepers and accounting clerks who meet the education and experience requirements set by their employers, get junior accounting positions and advance to accountant positions by showing their accounting skills on the job.

Many colleges help students gain practical experience through summer or part-time internships with public accounting or business firms.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Every accountant filing a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is required by law to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Many other accountants choose to become a CPA to enhance their job prospects or to gain clients. Many employers will often pay the costs associated with the CPA exam.

CPAs are licensed by their state’s Board of Accountancy. Becoming a CPA requires passing a national exam and meeting other state requirements. Almost all states require CPA candidates to complete 150 semester hours of college coursework to be certified, which is 30 hours more than the usual 4-year bachelor’s degree. Many schools offer a 5-year combined bachelor’s and master’s degree to meet the 150-hour requirement, but a master’s degree is not required.

A few states allow a number of years of public accounting experience to substitute for a college degree.

All states use the four-part Uniform CPA Examination from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Candidates do not have to pass all four parts at once, but most states require that they pass all four parts within 18 months of passing their first part.

Almost all states require CPAs to take continuing education to keep their license.

Certification provides an advantage in the job market because it shows professional competence in a specialized field of accounting and auditing. Accountants and auditors seek certifications from a variety of professional societies. Some of the most common certifications are listed below:

The Institute of Management Accountants offers the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) to applicants who complete a bachelor’s degree. Applicants must have worked at least 2 years in management accounting, pass a two-part exam, agree to meet continuing education requirements, and comply with standards of professional conduct. The exam covers areas such as financial statement analysis, working-capital policy, capital structure, valuation issues, and risk management. 

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) offers the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) to graduates from accredited colleges and universities who have worked for 2 years as internal auditors and have passed a four-part exam. The IIA also offers the Certified in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA), Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP), Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA), and Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) to those who pass the exams and meet educational and experience requirements.

ISACA offers the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) to candidates who pass an exam and have 5 years of experience auditing information systems. Information systems experience, financial or operational auditing experience, or related college credit hours can be substituted for up to 3 years of experience in information systems auditing, control, or security.

For accountants with a CPA, the AICPA offers the option to receive any or all of the Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), or Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) certifications. The ABV requires a written exam, completion of at least six business valuation projects, and 75 hours of continuing education. The CITP requires 1,000 hours of business technology experience and 75 hours of continuing education. Candidates for the PFS also must complete a certain amount of work experience and continuing education, and pass a written exam.

Advancement

Some top executives and financial managers have a background in accounting, internal auditing, or finance.

Beginning public accountants often advance to positions with more responsibility in 1 or 2 years and to senior positions within another few years. Those who excel may become supervisors, managers, or partners; open their own public accounting firm; or transfer to executive positions in management accounting or internal auditing in private firms.

Management accountants often start as cost accountants, junior internal auditors, or trainees for other accounting positions. As they rise through the organization, they may advance to accounting manager, chief cost accountant, budget director, or manager of internal auditing. Some become controllers, treasurers, financial vice presidents, chief financial officers, or corporation presidents.

Public accountants, management accountants, and internal auditors can move from one aspect of accounting and auditing to another. Public accountants often move into management accounting or internal auditing. Management accountants may become internal auditors, and internal auditors may become management accountants. However, it is less common for management accountants or internal auditors to move into public accounting.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Accountants and auditors must be able to identify issues in documentation and suggest solutions. For example, public accountants use analytical skills in their work to minimize tax liability, and internal auditors use these skills to detect fraudulent use of funds.  

Communication skills. Accountants and auditors must be able to listen carefully to facts and concerns from clients, managers, and others. They must also be able to discuss the results of their work in both meetings and written reports.

Detail oriented. Accountants and auditors must pay attention to detail when compiling and examining documentation.

Math skills. Accountants and auditors must be able to analyze, compare, and interpret facts and figures, although complex math skills are not necessary.

Organizational skills. Strong organizational skills are important for accountants and auditors who often work with a range of financial documents for a variety of clients.

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Accounting Officer Jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Accounting Manager 4.2 years
Comptroller 4.0 years
Accounting Officer 4.0 years
Top Careers Before Accounting Officer
Accountant 8.9%
Controller 8.6%
Auditor 3.8%
Top Careers After Accounting Officer
Accountant 10.4%
Controller 8.7%
Consultant 5.8%

Do you work as an Accounting Officer?

Accounting Officer Demographics

Gender

Male

50.9%

Female

44.8%

Unknown

4.2%
Ethnicity

White

54.2%

Hispanic or Latino

17.1%

Asian

12.1%

Black or African American

11.3%

Unknown

5.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

44.9%

Chinese

8.2%

Mandarin

8.2%

French

6.1%

Yoruba

4.1%

Cantonese

4.1%

Korean

4.1%

Arabic

4.1%

Swahili

2.0%

Filipino

2.0%

Vietnamese

2.0%

German

2.0%

Japanese

2.0%

Urdu

2.0%

Tagalog

2.0%

Afrikaans

2.0%
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Accounting Officer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

22.7%

University of Alabama

6.2%

Northern Illinois University

6.2%

California State University - Sacramento

5.2%

Strayer University

4.1%

Pace University - New York

4.1%

University of Alabama at Birmingham

4.1%

Babson College

4.1%

University of Utah

4.1%

Florida State University

4.1%

Harvard University

4.1%

University of Maryland - University College

4.1%

University of the West

4.1%

American University

4.1%

University of San Francisco

3.1%

New York University

3.1%

Robert Morris University

3.1%

University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez

3.1%

Saint Louis University-

3.1%

University of North Florida

3.1%
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Majors

Accounting

44.5%

Business

27.4%

Finance

12.3%

Management

3.0%

Economics

1.5%

Education

1.4%

Human Resources Management

1.1%

Management Information Systems

0.9%

Project Management

0.8%

Management Science

0.8%

Taxation

0.8%

Computer Science

0.8%

Health Care Administration

0.8%

Business/Commerce

0.8%

Psychology

0.6%

General Education, Specific Areas

0.6%

Legal Research And Advanced Professional Studies

0.6%

Information Technology

0.6%

Computer Information Systems

0.6%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

0.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.2%

Masters

33.3%

Other

13.9%

Certificate

4.8%

Associate

3.9%

Diploma

2.1%

License

0.4%

Doctorate

0.4%
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Real Accounting Officer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Chief Accounting Officer Heritage-Crystal Clean, LLC Elgin, IL Sep 21, 2011 $170,000
Chief Accounting Officer Torrance Care Center West, LLC Torrance, CA Sep 22, 2016 $160,000
Chief Accounting Officer Rollins Nelson LTC Corp Torrance, CA Sep 22, 2016 $160,000
Chief Accounting Officer The Torrance Care Center Torrance, CA Sep 22, 2016 $160,000
Chief Accounting Officer Heritage-Crystal Clean, LLC Elgin, IL Nov 01, 2009 $150,000
Chief Accounting Officer Outsource Partners International, Inc. New York, NY May 12, 2011 $135,000
Accounting Officer Thumbtack Technology LLC New York, NY Jun 09, 2016 $96,574 -
$108,118
Chief Accounting Officer CCG Investor Relations Inc. New York, NY Aug 20, 2013 $90,000
Chief Accounting Officer Western Dental Services, Inc. Orange, CA Apr 01, 2010 $83,480
Senior Grant Compliance and Accounting Officer Habitat for Humanity New York City, Inc. New York, NY Apr 09, 2011 $82,240
Chief Accounting Officer for Asian and Internation Innovation Works, Inc. Davie, FL Oct 01, 2011 $76,523
Accounting Officer Green Creative LLC South San Francisco, CA Feb 23, 2015 $75,000
Senior Accounting Officer Turkana Food, Inc. Kenilworth, NJ Sep 17, 2015 $71,000
Senior Accounting Officer Turkana Food Inc. Kenilworth, NJ Apr 27, 2016 $70,762
Accounting Officer Northeastern Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists NY May 21, 2010 $70,377
Accounting Officer Northeastern Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists NY May 28, 2010 $70,377
Accounting Officer Flow Traders Us LLC New York, NY Mar 05, 2015 $70,000
Chief Accounting Officer BLS International Services USA Inc. New York, NY May 05, 2014 $70,000
Senior Accounting Officer Turkana Food, Inc. Kenilworth, NJ Jul 09, 2016 $69,393
Senior Accounting Officer Turkana Food, Inc. Kenilworth, NJ Oct 08, 2016 $69,393
Accounting Officer Okey Enterprises Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $54,784
Accounting Officer Victoria Productions Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $54,784
Accounting Officer East West Hauling, Inc. Harrison, NJ Sep 17, 2015 $54,746
Accounting Officer Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation New York, NY Feb 19, 2015 $54,746
Accounting Officer Gogotech Ll, LLC New York, NY Sep 16, 2013 $54,642 -
$58,136
Accounting Officer/Supervisor CHB Infrastructure, Technology and Marketing Group Middleburg, VA Nov 01, 2011 $51,500
Accounting Officer/Supervisor CHB Infrastructure, Technology and Marketing Group Middleburg, VA Dec 01, 2011 $51,500
Accounting Officer JH Biotech Inc. CA Oct 01, 2011 $51,293

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Top Skills for An Accounting Officer

  1. Financial Statements
  2. Audit
  3. Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Furnished audited financial statements to banks and financial institutions on timely basis and updated financial projections upon request.
  • Managed the audit process for a portfolio of private equity funds effectively and efficiently to ensure timely delivery to investors.
  • Ensured that inventories and location surveys are performed in accordance with established regulations and procedures with 100% accountability.
  • Establish project level budgets/government appropriations, including setting up expenditure, revenue, encumbrance and payroll projections.
  • Compiled and analyzed financial data used to prepare entries to general ledger accounts, documented business transactions, and completed reconciliations.

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Top 10 Best States for Accounting Officers

  1. California
  2. District of Columbia
  3. Connecticut
  4. New Jersey
  5. Rhode Island
  6. Texas
  7. Delaware
  8. Illinois
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Colorado
  • (1,932 jobs)
  • (102 jobs)
  • (172 jobs)
  • (364 jobs)
  • (37 jobs)
  • (986 jobs)
  • (42 jobs)
  • (652 jobs)
  • (393 jobs)
  • (307 jobs)

Top Accounting Officer Employers

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